Freight Dawgs Rule
- Dec 17, 2003
- Total Time
From a legal defense standpoint, writing the appology was a dumb move. You might as well load a revolver with 6 shots, spin the cylinder and go first in a game of Russian Roulette.
Sat, Oct 15, 2005
Charges filed against teenage low-flying pilot, passenger
By Matt Ollwerther
Police filed charges Friday against two 16-year-old Marshfield males who buzzed a packed Beell Stadium in a small airplane during Marshfield High School's homecoming football game.
Because the 16-year-old pilot is a juvenile, police didn't identify him. They requested charges of entry into a locked room, recklessly endangering safety, operating a vehicle without owner's consent and obstructing an officer.
However, in a letter to the editor, Raymond E. Kennedy Jr. took responsibility for the prank and apologized for his actions.
"It was never my intention to scare or terrorize any of the fans or players at any time. The fly-over was a prank intended to enlighten the crowd's spirit and to have a fun Homecoming," he wrote. "I have now seen several different perspectives of my stunt, all of which were never my intentions."
He did not return a phone message left at his home Friday.
Another 16-year-old Marshfield male, a passenger in the plane, was charged with operating without the owner's consent as a passenger.
Kennedy's aircraft flew low over the stadium during the Sept. 30 game between Marshfield and Rhinelander near Marshfield Middle School, according to police records. The department received three 911 calls about the low-flying aircraft.
Airport manager Harold "Duffy" Gaier said Kennedy had his student pilot certificate and soloed about three months ago.
The teenager was an employee at the Marshfield Municipal Airport and had the access and keys to the airplanes, he said. He is no longer employed there.
Student pilots can't have passengers unless they are receiving instruction, Gaier said. They must be properly trained for night flights and have a log book endorsement to authorize them to fly after dark.
Kennedy's flying status is pending investigations by organizations such as the FAA, Gaier said. It also will depend on how the young pilot reacts to the FAA.
Police Chief Joe Stroik said his understanding was the pilot had never flown or landed at night and took the aircraft down to altitudes as low as 150 feet.
Over any congested area such as a city, aircraft must fly 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft, according to Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
"Given the minimal experience this pilot had, I am convinced this community dodged a catastrophic event," said Stroik, adding witnesses have voiced the same message.
Many people could have died with a mechanical problem or pilot error, he said.
After flying over the stadium, the plane loitered in the area before returning to the Marshfield airport, Stroik said. Officers at the stadium detained Kennedy as part of the investigation and later released him.
The Transportation Security Administration and the FAA are continuing their investigations.